Leadership is a topic which is high on the agenda for most organisations. It’s difficult to pick up a respectable magazine or journal and not find in it some reference.

The one thing we are not short of is leadership models and advice. There is a huge choice available and more emerge almost weekly.

All the models have appeal and most seem to contribute something to our understanding of leadership. This is particularly true of behavioural models. But there is very little solid objective evidence to support any one particular picture of leadership style and behaviour.

Another issue is that many of the models appear to overlap or look at the same aspect of leadership from a different perspective. The connections between models are rarely made.

Small wonder then that Augier and Teece said in 2005 “as a scientific concept, leadership is a mess”. Provoked by a discussion with the Institute of Leadership and Management searching for a leadership measure, AQR International launched a major study to examine these issues.

Carried out under the supervision of Professor Peter Clough, MMU, the study examined the main leadership models (academic and practitioner models) from around the world.

A key element was to analyse these models by stripping them down to their bare components.

The results were extremely interesting.

Leadership Style

If one examines most popular leadership models they will have their roots in one or more of these six specific scales which appear to define leadership style.

 

SCALE Scale Description Poles
GOAL ORIENTATION How important achieving goals is to the leader The Means v. The End
MOTIVATION What the leader believes is the prime path to motivation The Task v. The Person
ENGAGEMENT How leaders will engage with others Flexible v. Dogmatic
CONTROL The extent to which leaders need to be in control De-Centralised v. Centralised
RECOGNITION The leaders preferred approach to recognition Reward v. Punishment
STRUCTURE How important structure is to the leader Structured v. Organic

Analysis showed that there is no particular combination of style which correlated uniquely with high performance. The indication is that leadership style is situational and it is adopted. Different profiles might work better in different situations.

Defining Leadership Effectiveness

Once the data analysis to confirm the specific scales had been completed a further analysis revealed that there were 3 over-arching (second order) core competencies of leadership effectiveness that emerged from the study.

These are shown below:

Determination to Deliver This describes a single minded determination to achieve. Most satisfaction – the individuals and the followers – is derived from this.
Engagement with Individuals This describes enhancing the capability, confidence and commitment of individuals to enable them to perform and to fulfil themselves.
Engagement with Teams The emphasis is on cross functional team working – a leader knows and supports how people work together across the organisation

An important and valuable by product of the work carried out has led to the development of a normative questionnaire (ILM72) which can measures individuals (and organisations) in terms of the six specific scales (style) and the 3 global scales.

If you would like further information on the integrated leadership measure please visit our website at http://www.aqr.co.uk/page/ilm72 or to request a free of charge trial assessment please contact us at headoffice@aqr.co.uk

AQR is a leading edge publisher of psychometric measures, we also work through partner organisations. For more information please visit www.aqr.co.uk

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